Saturday, February 17, 2018

Air connectivity set for a big UDAN in Bihar

Patna: Regional air connectivity in Bihar is set to take off in a big way as work for starting civilian flights from the Indian Air Force’s Darbhanga airstrip, 150 km off Patna, is progressing swiftly and plans are afoot for expansion of two more airstrips in the state. Budget airline SpiceJet will fly ATRs or other smaller aircraft from Darbhanga to New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru within six months.

“Commercial flights from Darbhanga will be a major boon for the people of northern Bihar. Besides, it will boost the economy of the region,” said Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi.
Flight operations from Darbhanga, under the UDAN scheme, are expected to be successful as the fares have been capped at `2,500 for one-hour flights. Airlines operating under UDAN scheme will get Central and state government subsidy in 80:20 ratio to ensure financial viability.

The government will develop a terminal building complete with an Air Traffic Control tower, a parking apron and cargo handling facilities before commercial operations start from Darbhanga. 
“Airports Authority of India (AAI) has asked for 50 acres to develop these facilities, but since the land will cost `455 crore, the state government has urged AAI to reduce the size of the plot required,” said a senior official.

In Purnea, the IAF-controlled airstrip will see commercial flights by the year-end. The state government will acquire 50 acres near the airbase, where a civil enclave and other facilities will be developed at a cost of `21 crore.  Besides, the Bihar government will soon hand over to AAI 108 acres of land acquired for the expansion of the IAF-owned airstrip in Bihta near Patna.
17/02/18 Anand St Das/New Indian Express